Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Wily Peralta Total Points: 23 First Place: 4
Yovani Gallardo Total Points: 13 First Place: 1
Kyle Lohse Total Points: 9 First Place: 1
Matt Garza Total Points: 6 First Place: 1
Zach Duke Total Points: 4 First Place: 0
Francisco Rodriguez Total Points: 4 First Place: 0
Mike Fiers Total Points 3 First Place: 0
The runner-up for our Pitcher of the Year voting is Brewers mainstay Yovani Gallardo. (Winner Wily Peralta’s analysis can be found here.) Easily the longest tenured Brewers starter, Gallardo has made 211 starts for the Crew in his career, while Peralta, Lohse, and Garza have combined for 159.
Though he has been through ups and downs, particularly in the last few years, Yo returned to form this season after struggling in 2013, and posted the lowest walk rate (2.5 BB/9) and ERA (3.51) of his career.
This is in part due to a dramatic change in his pitching style, from a strikeout to groundball pitcher. As I mentioned in my review of Garza’s Newcomer award winning season, both he and Gallardo have experienced drops in pitching velocity, and have been forced to adapt to life as contact pitchers.
In fact, Gallardo and Garza were ranked 8th and 10th, respectively, in strikeout rates in 2011, while this year, Gallardo was ranked 58th, and Garza, 56th. 2011 has been the best season for both pitchers, but each of their 2014 seasons fared well in comparison, despite this massive drop in strikeout numbers.
Batters even made the highest percent of contact against Gallardo in his entire career, but he also had his highest ever groundball rate, meaning that this contact was less likely to do any damage. Despite this, fans appear to underappreciate Gallardo because he never became a true ace.
There does appear to be a “good Yo” and a “bad Yo”, as he is somewhat prone to short outings, but these are obviously few enough for him to post very respectable numbers. I fully expect the Brewers to pick up Gallardo’s option for next year, as Jon Heyman’s report that they had already done so was premature.
Gallardo has started at least 30 games in each of the last six seasons, a rare feat of durability, and he is tied for 10th most starts in that time. In a league in which pitcher injuries are becoming a growing monster, Gallardo’s health has been outstanding, and his ability to go out and pitch every week is invaluable.